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Closer look: Putting Tajikistan on the conservation map

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Written by: Dr Alex Diment
Other posts by Dr Alex Diment

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is one of the few international conservation NGOs operating in Tajikistan. Bordering Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China, Tajikistan is recognised as a key part of the ‘Mountains of Central Asia’ Biodiversity Hotspot.

The mountains of Tajikistan cover 93 per cent of its land area and harbour an astonishing number of plant and animal species, including the Marco Polo sheep, endangered snow leopard and Siberian ibex. Its breathtaking landscapes include snowcapped peaks and wild fruit and nut forests.

Disappearing forests

However 90 per cent of the forests have disappeared in the past 100 years, causing massive soil erosion and increased risk of landslides. Uncontrolled hunting and livestock grazing further threaten Tajikistan’s wildlife. The government of Tajikistan can cover barely a tenth of the budget needed for adequate conservation. Help is urgently needed.

Capacity building is an essential part of our approach in Tajikistan – enabling the existing platform of strong scientific training to be expanded to include new and participatory conservation techniques. Protected areas, conservation agencies, academic institutions and NGOs are under-funded and under-resourced, and staff need to improve their skills and knowledge to address conservation issues in an effective contemporary way, particularly regarding the participation of communities.

Next generation of conservationists

FFI has developed a National Conservation Training Programme to provide essential training to a range of conservation professionals from national parks, government, universities and local organisations.

This project is funded by Defra’s Darwin Initiative, which draws on the wealth of biodiversity expertise within the UK to help protect and enhance biodiversity around the world.

FFI is also supporting and mentoring five Darwin Scholars through their postgraduate conservation research projects. This support is vital to encourage the next generation of conservation scientists to care for Tajikistan’s precious wildlife heritage.

Our projects in Tajikistan are helping to stop further degradation of this cultural and biologically important landscape and to ensure land in Tajikistan is managed in a way which benefits both local communities and conservation in the long term.

Written by
Dr Alex Diment

Other posts by Dr Alex Diment

“FFI is also supporting and mentoring five Darwin Scholars through their postgraduate conservation research projects. This support is vital to encourage the next generation of conservation scientists to care for Tajikistan’s precious wildlife heritage”.

Ubayd Gulamadshoev

Tajikistan Programme Representative, Fauna & Flora International

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